Quote from SoonToBeAVillanovaRN
I'm graduating from Villanova's Accelerated BSN Program August 1st. I plan on taking my NCLEX in September as soon as I am authorized to test. I'm moving to Charlotte, NC this fall as my boyfriend is taking a job down there and I really want to go into pediatrics. I've done a little bit of research and I think Levine Children's Hospital is an ideal place for me to begin my career.
How receptive is the hospital to hiring new graduates?
When should I start interviewing/applying?
What is the starting pay?
Any kind of info regarding the area and nursing would be extremely helpful!! Thank so much!!
I went to a nursing school in Charlotte and graduated 3 years ago, so my info may be a little outdated but here ya go! Unless things have changed, CMC (Carolinas Medical Center, which LCH is part of) requires 6 months experience as a working nurse for any of their posted positions. They post a "new grad" position twice a year (it was in Feb for my class that graduated in May 2014). At the time, it seemed to be heavily based on grades, and there was no guarantee of a position at all--seems they would disseminate your information to hiring nurse managers and the managers would decide if they wanted to interview you. It was extremely competitive at the time, though I heard last year that the situation was much better for new grads than when I graduated.
I did clinicals on LCH's progressive care floor and also shadowed a shift in the NICU. Most of the nurses I met had worked elsewhere, and even in other specialties, before coming to their current position. I don't recall meeting anyone who had started in peds as a new grad--not saying it's impossible, but it seemed a lot of the nurse managers preferred a little experience first. So just be aware that you may have to work elsewhere first.
The semester that I graduated, LCH had just increased their new grad pay to something like $21.79 an hour (I don't remember the exact number, just that it was $21 and change) from $20 and change. I do not know what sort of differentials there are. I hope it's gone up since then because Charlotte is pretty expensive by NC standards as far as cost of living.
There are other hospitals in the area, including some in the CMC system who do their own hiring. I'd look at any hospitals within an hour or so drive of Charlotte. I recall the hospital in Gastonia had a new grad program, and Novant (also in Charlotte) also has one with similar application time frames to CMC. There's a few other hospitals that may offer new grad options as well, like Catawba Valley in Hickory. Some of the nurses I met at LCH had started out in, say, pediatrician's offices or something like that. They didn't seem to be super-picky about your experience back when I was graduating, just wanted you to have some.
Charlotte is a nice city but comes with all the large-city downfalls (lots of traffic and stoplights, expensive, etc.). If I recall correctly, the north and west sides are the areas to avoid as they are higher in crime, though there are some neighborhoods undergoing gentrification and I'm sure a lot has changed since I left! There's lots of nice smaller towns in the outlying areas (I'm familiar with Albemarle myself) and a lot of people also live across the border in SC and commute (though I-77 can be a pain in the morning!)--there's also at least one hospital in Rock Hill, SC that you might look at. Where you live will depend at least in part on where you work since Charlotte's pretty big and spread out.
Anyway, even if you have to start out somewhere else, if you get a position within the CMC system, transferring after a year or two is always an option. Hope this was helpful and hope you like it--from an NC native, welcome to NC!